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Mark Gaetani (Vinnies Tasmania)

The St Vincent de Paul Society has added its voice to widespread support for the parliamentary inquiry into Workforce Australia’s management of employment services.

The Rebuilding Employment Services report by the House of Representatives Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services was tabled last week. It contains 75 recommendations supported by almost 600 pages of detailed analysis. 

The society made a submission to the inquiry. 

In a statement, it said it agreed with the overall finding that, “The significant and numerous issues identified in this inquiry [demand] wholesale, large-scale reform in the coming months and years to fundamentally rebuild the Australian system”. 

“In recent years, we have seen the operation of a largely privatised job placement system that was ineffective, delivering very negative, often cruel, impacts on Australians seeking work, and that has contributed little, if anything, to the wider economy,” St Vincent de Paul Society national president Mark Gaetani said.

He said the findings were an “indictment of a system that was allowed to roll on for a quarter-century, supposedly with government oversight, despite the many flaws identified by job seekers, employers and advocacy groups such as St Vincent de Paul Society”.

“For years we have raised our concerns about this system, including the analysis in our Let’s Build a Fairer Australia! policy suite.  This parliamentary report lifts a veil on the practices of Workforce Australia and its preceding iterations, which even many of its own staff have been deeply concerned about,” Mr Gaetani said.   

The society had advocated for the past five years for “employment services to be refocused to support job seekers into work that aligns with their aspirations, abilities, skills, and interests, and which enables personal agency”, Mr Gaetani said.

“We call on the Government to implement the committee’s recommendations to help bring this aim to fruition.”


Need to rebuild privatised employment services system is obvious and long overdue (St Vincent de Paul Society)